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Comfortable mid-size care, good handling. Senior driver.

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I've liked my Maximas (1997 and 2011). But I am looking for a slightly smaller car than my 2011. Good handling, quiet, good stero, simple controls.

Priorities: Handling / Quietness / Front seat support & comfort

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan

Car Needs: Errands about town / Long trips

Primary Driver(s): Senior driver

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 25000
Maximum age: 4 years

Maximum price: US $ 25000

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Response from Dnslater

7:03 am September 1, 2016

Many compact sedans now offer space rivaling mid sized sedans of 10 years ago. The Volkswagen Jetta is a very nice handling car and you can get the GTI engine if you go for the GLI sedan. Other good options would be the new Honda Civic and the Mazda 3 sedan. All of these cars are known for good handling and the interiors will probably have more space than your first Maxima. Of the three, the Jetta looks more "grown up" and VW reliability has come a long way in the past decade or two.


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Volkswagen Jetta
Mazda Mazda3
Honda Civic

Response from samuel.bethune

7:45 am September 1, 2016

How small do you want to go? The Nissan Altima has many of the attributes of the Maxima but in a slightly smaller size. The performance and fuel economy are outstanding. If you want to go even smaller the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic are both good choices.


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Nissan Altima
Mazda Mazda3
Honda Civic

Response from Dnslater

9:45 am September 1, 2016

The Nissan Altima is within an inch in nearly every dimension of the current Maxima and probably larger than the 2011 version, so not really a noticeable size difference. I've rented both more than a few times and the Altima is definitely more bland as well (handling, interior, etc....) Not a bad car, just bland.


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Response from samuel.bethune

10:36 am September 1, 2016

I beg to differ. I've rented Altimas quite a few times and I have also owned one. They are definitely not bland, at least not compared to the Volkswagen Jetta. If you are considering the Jetta I'd recomment you review VW's reliability ratings. Throughout the last ten years they were plagued with transmission issues and left more than one owner holding the bag for some very expensive repairs.


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Response from Dnslater

3:02 pm September 1, 2016

Admittedly, the many rental Altima's I have driven have been the base/rental version which I found very uninspiring....... partially due to my disdain of CVT transmissions. I'm sure the upmarket versions are much better. They do get great mileage. As far as the design language (not referring to the new version) we can agree to disagree.

As far as VW goes, I have had good luck with mine, and they have improved drastically in the reliability surveys, but admittedly they do take more maintenance than the Honda or Mazda which are probably better choices for the original poster. VW's, like other German sedans, are just more fun to drive than many Japanese sedans. Handling is different, heavier wheel, etc.... Obviously a subjective opinion and I drive a Golf based Sportwagen, not the Jetta, which has a cheaper suspension design.

FYI Consumer Reports 2015 reliability ratings put VW above Nissan. Also the 2016 J.D. Power ratings had VW above Nissan. The times, they are a changin'.


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Response from jasonmreece

9:49 pm September 1, 2016

For $25k, you could get a CPO 2014 (possibly 2015) Volvo S60. Volvo's seats are widely considered the best in the business, they handle very well and they have plenty of power (even the base T5). You also have the option of AWD, if that appeals to you. Renting the S60 several times ultimately led me to lease a 2015.5 V60 T6 R-Design wagon and I love it!

Another great option is a 2012-2013 Acura TSX. Bullet-proof reliabillity, great handling, fairly quick (0-60 in under 8sec isn't bad for a 201hp 2.4L 4cyl with a 5-speed A/T) and the ride is prety comfortable.

The Mazda6 is another one to consider. I love the Mazda3 (still have the one I bought new in 2006, can't seem to let it go), but slow sales of the Mazda6 makes them an even better deal. They are only marginally larger than the Mazda3 (100 cubic feet of interior space vs. 96). A 2016 Mazda6 i Touring with the Bose/Moonroof Pkg can be had for $24k or a little less. If you want LED headlights and several other upgrades, you could also get the Technology Pkg and still be under $25,500. A Mazda3 s Touring 4-door (with standard Bose audio and moonroof) would be around $23k or the s Grand Touring for around $24k.

All of the above are great options, IMHO!


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Volvo S60
Acura TSX
Mazda Mazda6

Response from NormT

8:35 am July 19, 2017

The 2013 or later Buick Verano Premium 2.0T fits your sub-$25,000 limit. It offers the quietest, smoothest, most refined interior in the segment It is only an inch or so smaller than the older Maxima/Altima. The Premium has heats front seats and steering wheel. It includes back up camera and audible backup sensor and lane warning when someone is next to you.


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Buick Verano
Buick Regal
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